Comet Cafe, 1947 N. Farwell Ave., is slated to reopen for service in the winter of 2022. But it will do so under new ownership.
In fact, the cafe will be making a comeback with the help of Valeri Lucks (of Honeypie Cafe, Palomino and SmallPie) who, alongside her brother Adam Lucks, helped turn the old cafe into a full-fledged restaurant in 2005. .
Today, Lucks is the founder and co-owner of Pie Inc., the company behind Honeypie Café, Honeypie Bakeshop, Palomino and SmallPie. But between 2005 and 2015, she and her brother Adam were the operators of Comet, before moving on to focus on their own concepts, Honeypie and Palomino.
“It was my first restaurant,” Lucks notes. “Founded in 1995 by Scott Johnson and Leslie Montemurro, Comet started and operated as a popular neighborhood café for 10 years. Adam and I partnered with them in 2005 to expand it to a full restaurant and bar.
“Adam developed a menu featuring comfort food and craft beers that were locally sourced and handcrafted at a time when this was all new to the industry. We had so much fun at Comet and worked with so many great people. ”
Lucks, who now operates Pie Inc. with his partner and co-owner, Chef Derek Petersen (a chef who debuted as a dishwasher at Comet in 2006), says he’s extremely excited to return to the business. cafe where his restaurant career began.
“Our goal at PIE Inc is to bring joy to our communities with amazing food and great outdoors,” said Lucks. “Comet’s return to our fold is an exciting step in our growth. Comet means a lot to us personally. We think it’s an important place in the community. Many of us in the business got their start there. We have the comet in our DNA. We are honored to take the stewardship of such a beloved cafe and operate it again.
As for the changes to the concept, Lucks says that’s not the point.
“We’re going to paint, do basic repairs, install new lights …” she says. “But I really like what we built back then, and the intention is to keep it that way.”
This means maintaining the comforting cafe menu, list of craft beers and drinks, as well as bringing back the pies and baked goods that were once served.
“My late father helped us build the bar,” says Lucks. “And my brother and my friends built the booths, the counter and the tables that are still there. Much of this menu we created in 2005 ourselves. So we couldn’t be more excited to come back. ”
Leslie Montemurro, who operated Comet with partner Scott Johnson before handing over the restaurant to Pie Inc. on October 15, 2021, says they couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
“We are very happy that Val and Derek are reopening the Comet Café,” she said in an email. “This is great news for the neighborhood and the city. We know the community will be happy that Comet reopens without much change.
“Val understands the vibe of Comet, adores it, and has been instrumental in the evolution of Comet from the one-window cafe to the full-service restaurant and bar that it has become. It’s in good hands and it’s great that now Comet is here in the next decade.
“It has been a privilege for us to own and operate Comet since 1995 and to be a part of the development of Milwaukee’s impressive restaurant scene today. ”